Surreal

Death is surreal. That’s the first word rushing to my mind when I saw my beloved grandpa’s dead body. The amazing stiffness a souless mass can achieve while still look lively — and to me, and all of my relatives, lovely.

For me, death is a transit and for a while now I always thought my grandpa longed for it. 85 and bed-ridden for almost a year I knew he’s getting sick of it. He was a veteran, and the last thing he wanted was to cause anyone trouble due to his lack of being.

At the same time, he’s grateful. He always thanked people for anything: he thanked me for being an imam for him; he thanked my sister for looking after him, feeding him: he thanked us for bathing him and all. He was the kindest with the softest heart I ever knew.

I remembered during my days volunteering, I will stay in his house and every morning without fail, he would make me a cup of tea. And one night during Ramadhan, I promised him to come back after Taraweh with my friends but I didn’t. So the next day, we met, he shook my hand and asked me why didn’t I come back. His face is half disbelief and awkward discontent.

I know he should.

Because he waited. He will wait if any of his kids promised him to come to visit him, or waited until his kids go home after visiting him. Until 2 or 3 am, with his limited and constrained near-centennial life force.

God knows until what time he waited for me when I promised him I’ll be back. But that was years ago, before he’s been put to bed due to his old-age frequent exhaustion.

I can still remember his wide, toothless face when I told him I was employed for my first job; or when my cousin bought his first car and grandpa rode in it despite his lack of strength. He was like that, always be happy for others.

During his bed-ridden time, I always peeked at him from the leaf of the door of his room. He would stare to the ceiling, sometime only tilting his head, because that’s the most physical manifestation he could achieve. His memory always failed him, he didn’t even remember my late grandmother. I don’t know what he thought. Of his life. Of his kids. But he should be proud. I think he really should, and I hope he knew it till the light of life extinguished from his eyes. I pray he knows it now.

He would diligently pray every prayer times although we had to remind which prayer it was. He’d pray nevertheless. I always pray that he will die an easy, painless death but my mother told me that he wasn’t receiving enough oxygen due to his lung infection. We have no idea how long or how painful it was.

I hope it all for the best.

I miss you Bapak. I regretted not having the chance to meet weeks before you’re leaving for your appointed time with the Most Merciful. I went home I heard you but why didn’t I go in and take your hand and kiss your hands like I always did?

I really miss you. Death, is never easy even when you most expected it.

IN LOVING MEMORY: Ya’acob Abd Raouf
1931–2017
اللهم اغفرله وارحمه واعف عنه
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